Croatia reach the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia after defeating the hosts 2:2 (4:3) on penalties in Sochi, online sportsbook news report.
Croatia overcame a tough game against the hosts
Croatia are the last team to have joined the remaining nations at the World Cup, after overcoming highly intense quarter-finals match against Russia that saw them progress forward only after outscoring the hosts in a penalty shootout.
Forward Cheryshev opened the scoring in the 31st minute of the game with a stunning long-rance shot that immediately lit up the 47,000- seater Fisht Olympic Stadium that was packed with Russian supporters. Six minutes before the break, the Croatians rushed forward in search of a goal and Kramaric equalized the scoreline with a header that was assisted by Mandzukic.
After full time, the scoreline still stood at 1:1, which sent the match into extra time. A corner kick saw Vida strike the back of the net with a header, but the hosts managed to hold on to their dream for a little bit longer as Fernandes scored a header himself from a free-kick action.
For this game, penalties were the only eventuality which both teams knocked out their previous opponents in the last 16 stage, as Russia progressed by beating Spain and Croatia kicked out Denmark the same way. But as it turned out, Croatia proved to be the slightly more composed side on the night, as they outscored the Russians 4:3 on penalties, thus guaranteeing their spot in the semi-finals against England.
“We’ve played two times 120 minutes in six days and, of course, this will leave a mark on you,” said Croatia captain Luka Modric. ”But thank God, we’ve shown our character. We had to run a lot. I agree we should have finished the job earlier – we his the woodwork and had chances. We should have maintained our focus after we took the lead in extra time but, unfortunately, there was a lapse in concentration on the free-kick.”
Can Croatia beat the Three Lions?
Croatia will next face England in the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup in Moscow’s main stadium, Luzhniki on Wednesday evening, which could be a thrilling spectacle as the tournament slowly comes to a close. Currently, online sportsbooks in Croatia are offering favourites odds for England to clinch a win, while a draw between the two (during 90 minutes) is on similar odds.
The Croats on the other hand are viewed as underdogs for the match, due to their performances in the two knockout games – against Denmark in the last 16 and now against Russia in the quarter-finals – that have seen them progress forward only after beating their opponents on penalties. Many pundits in the UK don’t view Croatia as a serious threat exactly because of that and their lack of dominance in games, so they’re expecting the Three Lions to seal an easy victory and make it to the final on Sunday, July 15, which will be played also at Luzhniki Stadium.
Bet on World Cup Semi Finals – Croatia v England: H 3.50 (5/2) D 3.10 (21/10) A 2.37 (11/8)
(For more info about the online betting site, check out Bet365 Sportsbook review.)
Modric is certain that the upcoming match against Gareth Southgate’s men on Wednesday will be their biggest challenge yet, and that they need to improve some parts of their game if they are to make to the final.
“We expect a very difficult, tight and demanding match against England,” commented the Real Madrid midfielder. “Every match at this World Cup is such. We have to enjoy this moment and then we have to prepare for England. We watched their win over Sweden and we saw how good they are from dead-balls. We’ll have to focus more on defending from set pieces because we conceded today from a set-piece. We’ll have to improve that element of our game.”